Patriarch. Patriarchy. Such delicious terms that always cause a firestorm when you throw them around. Granted they mean as much as the word “fascist” does these days, but they are still great words to make a point with.
I’m not a Patriarch. I don’t think anything even remotely like it is possible in the World anymore – even despite it’s original failings. That said the word brings about some worthy triggering, so I intend to use it as much as possible.
Recently, my life has become like one of those sack races at a school party. My wife is in the sack with me – almost twice a day on average – and often we are trying to hop in different directions when it comes to our plans, ideas, and how we want to spend our time that day. Our marriage is yet young. As we seek to better communicate and understand the stubborn other, a new path in life opens.
As the experts hum repeatedly, much of marriage is all about communication. Usually, you don’t start off to well in that department. The specific verbal and non-verbal manner of that communication is a different skill all in itself – one that is often unpolished.
Through the communication we stumble through now, I’ve learned something important. Your priorities will shift so much in your life – especially with an infant that much of what you did and who you were before marriage wont be the same.
If you want to be that great family patriarch of old, most of your available time in a day must be spent nurturing your family – specifically your wife in the early years and your children. Just as anything substantial in life requires much time and investment, your family is no exception. (Infants are quite the time investment when they won’t fall asleep at night and continue to cry.)
I’m now building my legacy, but that is a time and life investment that will consume my time in life. Less going out with friends to the bar. Less video game binges into the wee hours. Less wasting of time period. My hobbies now tend to include research about the best ways to get my son crawling early and my social activities tend to involve my wife. (Father and son hobbies will come as my son grows older.)
In a way, I’m being forced to be more productive and deliberate as to how I spend my time – an odd side effect of having a family that I had no clue about. It is however a welcome one, in that it forces some discipline upon you, something I’ve struggled to do over my life. Dragged by my heels to be better, so to speak.
Much of my generation is hedonistic in we view ourselves. Usually, it’s all about what makes me happy and satisfied now and anything that get’s in the way is a problem – or in the cases of some RP enthusiasts – supposed Beta behavior. What most players don’t realize is that when you get married, your wife needs your time. It can feel a bit strangling at times with a loss of space being your gut instinct, but new instincts will develop as your marriage goes on.
Essentially, if you want to build that next generation and a culture that will last your excess pleasures, desires, and frivolous hobbies will have to take a back seat. It becomes less about what makes you happy and more about what is necessary for the success of your family. I’m selfish and I’ll admit it, a hard RP to swallow is that what makes me happy isn’t necessarily going to make my wife happy or even my children. (Have another one on the way in that department.) Basically, we mature as men because we must.
Some men might take it as the nail in their coffins of their prior lives, but it simply means that a transition is taking place. What I’m realizing now is that if you want a family, a legacy, love, growing old together, and many of the usual romantic dreams, much of your bachelor self will shed it’s skin permanently. So in order to get your new skin, you have to shed the old.
I no longer have as much time for video games and my usual pleasures of flesh. Instead, I often limit them to an hour a day at most so I can focus on spending time with my wife – who needs my attention and help even more so being that I knocked her up again.
Remember, marriage is a different adventure and the “skills” needed are far different from the arsenal of most players. You will have to stop being a selfish bastard where everything is about you, while maintaining the self-confidence and fervor of an Olympian. Finding that key balance becomes as valuable as gold and a key component into becoming that patriarch.
In a young marriage, your wife is needy – as is mine – specifically when it comes to pregnancy. When you decide to have your first kid, pregnancy adds another element to that neediness. We hear alot about shit-tests but not alot about comfort tests.
I recall a conversation with my wife when she was in tears about how I didn’t comfort her, wrap my arms around her, and tell her everything was going to be okay when our son was in the NICU for 3 weeks after he was born. She wanted me to hold her in my arms and not let her go. I was supposed to be strong, but while I thought I was, I didn’t pass that strength on to her.
Logically I thought that she already knew she had my support – and I was coming to be with her everyday in the evening when I got off work. (Remember how powerful and dominant a woman’s emotions are, especially after birth.) However, I didn’t verbally communicate my thoughts on how she was feeling and how everything was going to be fine. I probably wasn’t physically affectionate enough either and obviously we couldn’t bond and come together through sex in the weeks after birth. (You really do have to be on your game and making it an intrinsic part of yourself.)
This was a hard lesson for me to learn. Men… we often have to learn how to love – both in how we show and how we do it. Love is what girls so desperately need, just as respect is something men need when it comes to marriage.
Now do you lose who you are? Everything that makes you… you?
Your family becomes you.
I as a man and father, and my wife as a woman and a mother, are now putting our feet on the next step up the stairs of life. It’s all happening very fast as is the excitement about it. About 3 months ago, we moved down to Missouri. I won’t say where, but I do like what I see down here. Housing is cheap – though so are wages.
(Luckily, I’ve got a job in which I can make a good amount of money. It’s a sale job, and I will essentially have to internalize game in a sales oriented manner. )
Arguably, it’s probably one of the most important skills a man can learn that he can apply to many other aspects of life. I never realized its application that many had waxed eloquently about until training for my current job. (Also, a quick pro-tip I’ve learned: He who complains the most gets the most. Furthermore, me and my wife are going to be moving into an apartment, which is will be our first place on our own with each other.
I often want to help men who struggle with women out – as I see who I was in them. At the same time, I’m also realizing that men with families really do need other family men to come together to eat, drink, converse, and to sharpen each other’s lives. The conversation at the table really will differ then it did in our bachelor days. Behold, the next step in life.